Swift changes at SERC
When lockdown was introduced last year, schools and colleges in Lisburn had to close for the safety of both children and staff.
They all adjusted to the new normal, with homeschooling becoming the way forward. At the South Eastern Regional College in Lisburn virtual classes got underway and safety measures were put in place in classrooms when the students were allowed back to study.
Ken Webb, Principal and Chief Executive of SERC said: “Everyone has faced massive challenges during the last year and we recognise that the education journey was not what our students or staff expected.
“We acted swiftly when the pandemic struck, moving online to protect the health of the College community. We remained open for business, ensuring students were supported to complete qualifications and delivered support to many small businesses.
“On the anniversary of the first lockdown, I am very proud that our staff ensured that students could learn and achieve through very difficult times. As well as quickly upskilling corporate and academic staff to go online with students, we have, to date, issued over 750 computers and laptops to SERC students so they could continue to learn at home.”
Ken added, “We have had to be creative with opportunities for assessment, for example, hospitality and catering students have planned and prepared meals for those in need over Christmas working in partnership with local charities; Travel and Tourism students have taken part in virtual exchanges with students in Japan and our seasonal student enterprise fairs have moved to a virtual catalogue. In addition, the College has been a key part of the economic recovery.
“With support from the Department for the Economy, we rolled out training to 550 people who were furloughed or made redundant. We worked to ensure apprenticeships are protected through the Apprenticeship Recovery Package and the Challenge Fund.
“All this has happened against a background of reorganising timetables, facilities and support so that everyone, on and off site, is able to learn and work safely.”